Global BC’s top news story of 2018: Another record-setting wildfire season
Another record-setting wildfire season has topped the list of Global BC’s top news stories of 2018.
More than 1.349 million hectares burned as wildfires spread across the province.
The previous record total was 1.216 million hectares in 2017.
On Sept. 7, the B.C. government ended the province-wide state of emergency, which had been in place since Aug. 15.
WATCH: Coverage of wildfires burning around B.C. in 2018
In the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Okanagan, there were 428 fires which scorched 54,348 hectares.
The Northwest Fire Centre had the largest total area burned, while the Prince George Fire Centre had the highest number of fires.
In one 24-hour period during the summer, more than 100 wildfires were sparked around the province due to lightning storms.
More than 200 military personnel, along with heavy-lift aircraft, were deployed to B.C. to assist in the firefighting efforts, mostly in a support and mop-up capacity.
They supplemented out-of-province wildfire personnel from across Canada along with international crews from Mexico, New Zealand and Australia.
During last year’s record B.C. wildfire season, the the federal government deployed about 300 personnel to the province to help out.
The total cost of fighting this year’s fires was around $350.1 million.
While more hectares have burned this year than last, many of the fires have occurred in more remote locations, leading to less property damage and fewer evacuations.
Smoke and air quality
The amount of fires burning also led to air quality advisories in almost every corner of the province.
In August, air quality readings were off the charts in parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, as smoke from B.C. wildfires headed south.
The regions were marked as a 10+ on the air quality index scale, or ‘very high-risk’.
Other parts of the province also went off the charts but none made headlines quite like the smoke that blanketed Prince George and the surrounding region in mid-August.
One Friday morning, it looked like the middle of the night, even though it was after 9 a.m.
— With files from Simon Little, Jon Azpiri and Doyle Potenteau